The 'Chromes in Action!

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Images by Evan Werkema

ATSF 5355 east

With only about 20% of the roster in red and yellow at the time of the merger denial, solid consists of 5 or more SPSF units were rare, but they did happen on occasion. SD45 5355 leads SF30C's 9533, 9519, 9520, and 9534 east near Domingo, NM.

ATSF 9513 east

Another solid red consist made up of SF30C's 9513, 9518, and F45 5960 ducks under the I-25 overpass west of Belen, NM on August 23, 1986, nearly a month after the merger was rejected.

ATSF 5355 east

SD45 5355 is at it again, this time leading an almost solid SPSF consist east at the oddly named location of Quirk, NM. Ironically, the "spoiler" is a C30-7, one of the most commonly repainted models!

ATSF 9530 east

SF30C's 9530 and 9521 lead two blue and yellow units east out of Belen, NM.

ATSF 5809 west

The SPSF scheme looked particularly good on Santa Fe's big SD45-2's like 5809, on the point of a westbound near Laguna, NM. The second unit is SD45 5394, the first Santa Fe unit to wear an experimental SPSF scheme. By this date, the SD45 had been repainted in the standard version of the scheme and was just another (filthy!) locomotive.

ATSF 3828 west

The only GP50 to wear SPSF colors descends Abo Pass east of Kayser, NM in November 1986.

ATSF 2375 east

ATSF 2375 east (geographic south) approaches the former Rock Island diamonds at Etter, TX in November 1986. The absence of dynamic brakes on the ex-TP&W GP38-2's was less of a problem on flatland locals like this.

ATSF 5107 east

Not many Santa Fe SD40-2's sported intake shields and smoke deflectors. ATSF 5107 is eastbound at Suwanne, NM.

ATSF 8085 east

The conductor descends from the cab as ATSF 8085 east approaches the yard at Belen, NM. The C30-7 would later become Conrail Leasing #553.

ATSF 9538 west

Time was running out for the SPSF scheme on Santa Fe as SF30C 9538 led the Cochise coal train west (geographic south) at Sabinal, NM on November 23, 1990. All active red and yellow units were supposedly back in blue and yellow by the end of the year. A number of red and yellow units left the roster before they could be repainted, however, and a few still roam the rails as lingering reminders of one of the most famous failed railroad merger attempts in US railroad history.

ATSF 922 east

A few years later, some of those lingering reminders came home to roost! Thanks to the BNSF merger, a handful of SPSF-painted C30-7's that were acquired by BN returned to Santa Fe rails in the mid-1990's. In a classic post-merger multicolored consist, BNSF 5193, ex-ATSF 8150, teams up with a red and silver warbonnet (with a BNSF orange air conditioner) and a BNSF-renumbered GP60 on an eastbound baretable train.

ATSF 922 east
BNSF 1074 east

Another BNSF Kodachrome C30-7, 5176 (ex-ATSF 8133), helps out on an intermodal train featuring three newer GE's, all in different paint schemes. The train is approaching the horseshoe curve at Caliente, CA as it climbs Tehachapi Pass.


Images by Jeff Schultz

ATSF 1562

Six units, three red and three blue, lead a Santa Fe train at Barstow, CA in 1986. SD39 1562, temporarily relieved of hump duties, leads the lashup.

ATSF 7497

B36-7 7497, one of only two SPSF-painted B36-7's, leads a train over Cajon Pass in July, 1987.

ATSF 6404

One of Santa Fe's little GE's, B23-7 6404, leads a train at Summit, CA in 1988.


Images by Tom C. Jones

ATSF 5998

Santa Fe's FP45's kept their high-speed gearing and automatic train stop (ATS) equipment well into the 1980's for use on business or special trains such as this one at Los Angeles, circa 1986.

ATSF 5977

In the 1980's, Santa Fe banned cowl units from leading regular freight trains unless no other units were available. The ban was not always rigidly enforced, but nevertheless, catching a cowl unit on the point of a train became a rare treat. F45 5977 leads a freight over Cajon Pass. One might speculate that the folks in the "roundhouse" didn't have time or just plain didn't want to turn any of the other units around to lead the consist.

ATSF 5159 and 1572

SD40-2 5159 and SD39 1572 on the point of a freight at Belen, NM afford an opportunity to compare the two models. Among other details, the SD39 has only two radiator fans compared to three on the SD40-2.

ATSF 5331

SD45 5331 and a blue and yellow SD40-2 at Pittsburg, CA with a manifest.

ATSF 1573

SD39 1573 on a string of light power at Pittsburg. Note the yellow box on the front platform that contains the slug connections.


Images by Doyle Davis

ATSF 5347

Two Kodachrome SD45's bracket a blue and yellow C30-7 in this view at Dalhart, TX in 1986.

ATSF 8073 west

Santa Fe 8073 west crosses the border from Texas into New Mexico at Texico, NM. The photographer is standing in Texas, but the locomotives are already in New Mexico. The Texico depot, seen in the distance, has since been torn down.

ATSF 3632 east

GP39-2 3632 and caboose 999795 patiently await their next call to duty in front of the depot at Hereford, TX.


Images by Kevin Stevens

ATSF 8076

An "oops" at the east switch of Walong siding on Tehachapi Pass, November 2, 1986. An eastbound Santa Fe train in the siding ran past the east switch about 2:00 a.m., striking the third unit of a westbound SP train on the main. SPSF-painted C30-7 8076 was the second unit of the Santa Fe train.

ATSF 8076


Images by Al Bowen

ATSF 654 west

Who would have thought that 13 years after the merger denial, there would still be SPSF-painted units roaming former Santa Fe rails? ATSF 654 west leads a colorful assortment of BNSF power including BNSF C30-7 5193, formerly ATSF 8150, on Cajon Pass in August 1999.

ATSF 136 east

Another BNSF SPSF unit, 5184 (ex-ATSF 8141) trails a GP60M around the Tehachapi Loop in California on August 27, 1999.

ATSF 136 east


Images by Steve Emerson

ATSF SF30C 9544

SF30C 9544 gets a lift from the Belen Derrick so a traction motor can be changed out. Neither the 9544's red paint nor the derrick itself were long for this world.

ATSF 9540 east

Red and yellow SF30C's were plentiful on the old main line over Raton and Glorieta due to their RCE capabilities, but they also showed up on the Belen Cutoff. ATSF 9540 slugs eastbound up Abo Pass east of Kayser, NM, headed for the summit at Mountainair.

ATSF 5337 west

ATSF 5337 west has just entered the single track at Scholle, NM for the trip through scenic and rugged Abo Canyon.

ATSF 5159 east

SD40-2 5159 leads an eastbound into Belen, NM.

ATSF 5986 west

The eastern approach to Mountainair, NM is relatively flat compared to the climb through Abo Canyon from the west. Cowl 5986 is westbound with pigs and autoracks.

SPSF meet at Encino

Kodachromes meet in the small burg of Encino, NM. It may look like double track, but at the time, the Belen Cutoff east of Moutainair was nearly all single track with long, well maintained, CTC-controlled passing sidings.

ATSF 8141 east

C30-7 8141 enters Belen, NM with an eastbound. The unit would not last to see a coat of blue and yellow following the merger denial, instead going back to GE in 1989. BN later acquired it, and with the BNSF merger the unit returned to ex-Santa Fe rails as BNSF 5184 (see Al Bowen's photos on this page).

ATSF 5977 east

Ready to assault Abo Pass with just two units, ATSF 5977 east has its work cut out as it departs Belen, NM.


Images by Joe Snider

ATSF cowl eastbound

Cruising down the Joint Line in April 1986 is Santa Fe train 443 (Denver to Kansas City) with an SPSF-painted F45 on the point.


Images by Richard Sugg

ATSF 8750 east

Richard Sugg found 8750, one of only 10 repainted U36C's, leading an eastbound up Cajon Pass in August 1988.

ATSF 5980 west

F45 5980 leads a westbound off the pass at Devore, CA in March 1987.


Images by Lowell Amrine

ATSF 5969 east

F45 5969 leads a freight up Cajon Pass in California ca. 1989. The third unit is a GP40X.

ATSF 8077 east

ATSF 8077 east is screaming right along between Edison and Sandcut, CA. In a few miles, the train will be crawling up the tortuous grades of Tehachapi Pass. The date is some time before April 1987, as that's when the second unit, SD45-2, was outshopped as SD45-2u 5856, in blue and yellow.


Red Line - Seperator
Black Line - Seperator

Last modified: May 7, 2005


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